Administrative Report of the Malta Football Association 2012/13

bjorn-vassallo-agm2013MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo explained the salient points of the Report of Activities of the Association for season 2012/13.

Bjorn Vassallo said the past year was another exciting and successful year for the football family. He said the association continued with its extensive programme of works which turned words into action. Vassallo said at the end of these three years, the current MFA Administration managed to deliver most of its promises. The association’s ambitious project was to build a sound basis on which the game could evolve.

Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina

The MFA CEO said a number of decisions were taken, which sometimes needed courage, as they meant a radical change and a reform in the way football is managed – both from the aspect of administration and the technical aspect. He said the association was committed to complete the project regarding clubs’ facilities thanks to which all member clubs will have their own training grounds. The next step is now the amendment to the law with regards to the commercialisation of the land which was leased by the government to member clubs.

The MFA invested heavily in the clubs’ infrastructure and now clubs have training facilities and better venues where competitive matches are played week in week out. The association spread its ‘wealth’ over clubs. Vassallo said it was of great satisfaction seeing the faces of club officials witnessing their dreams come true with their facilities now being a hub of activity for children, youths and adults. This was a big shift from before where football was centralised around Ta’ Qali.

Vassallo stressed that the current MFA administration changed completely the way it considers priorities in football. The association is now looking ahead with optimism and its next objective is to improve clubs’ management and finances so that clubs solve problems which have been there for a long time but have never been seriously tackled.

The MFA CEO went on to say that over the past three years, he witnessed several capable persons who would show respect, dedication and results if one believed in them. This was a radical change which took place within the MFA. He said it was great satisfaction to notice that the MFA’s income increased considerably – amounting to €20 million over the past three years – an increase of €6 million over the previous three years. Income for the past year amounted to €9.3 million. Vassallo stressed that although the association continued to invest in facilities, the association still managed to make a profit.

Administrative Report snippets
Direct investment in facilities of Dingli Swallows, Hamrun Spartans, Hibernians, Kalkara, Luqa St. Andrew’s, Mdina Knights, Mellieha, Mosta, Mtarfa, Naxxar Lons, Pembroke Athleta, Qrendi, Rabat Ajax, San Gwann, Senglea Athletic, Sirens, St. Venera Lightnings, Swieqi United, Tarxien Rainbows, Valletta, Zejtun Corinthians and Zurrieq, Ghargb Rangers, Kercem Ajax, Xewkija Tigers and Zebbug Rovers in Gozo. Other upgrading was done at the Charles Abela Stadium, Luxol Stadiuma nd Sirens Stadium. In April, applications for works at the Hibernians Stadium were submitted to MEPA while works which started at the Victor Tedesco Stadium two years ago resumed and should be completed by October. A new VIP area is being built at the Gozo Stadium. The association also invested in facilities for Futsal and Beach Soccer.

The MFA Technical Centre organised courses for Nursery Administrators and Head Coaches apart from the usual courses, which included courses for goalkeepers’ coaches and women’s football coaches. Technical Centre Operations Manager Jesmond Abela attended a Football Management Couse in Coverciano while Jesmond Zammit and Paul Zammit obtained the UEFA Pro Licence. Edwin Camillri obtained a Diploma in Football Management, attending the UEFA MESGO course while Franz Tabone and Alvin Grech obtained a certificate in Football Management, attending the UEFA CFM course. The MFA Technical Centre applied and obtained EU funds for a Life Long Learning Programme thanks to which a number of coaches could attend a camp in the Netherlands.

Elite and Category One Referees started last season with a training camp in Bulgaria. Ronald Zammit, who is the MFA coach in the referees’ sector was appointed as one of the physical trainers in the Referees’ Development Centre in the Refereeing Excellence in Nyon. The introduction of the Additional Assistant Referees was another ambitious project by the association.

Bjorn Vassallo went on to highlight the main achievements of the current administration.

Office of the Prosecutor
– the set-up of the Office of the Prosecutor and the appointment of the Integrity Officer
– the agreement with Swiss company Sport Radar
– MFA starts receiving Betting Fraud Detection System Reports
– agreement with Police so that officers from the Economic Crime Section work directly on match-fixing cases
– MFA Integrity Officer works hand-in-hand with Interpol
– co-operation with International Centre for Sports Security
– new regulations regarding Whistleblower
– meetings with Government representatives regarding changes in law which covers match-fixing
– number of cases investigated by Office of the Prosecutor
– nine cases concluded by Board to Adjudicate Charges Relating to Bribery & Illegal Betting over the past three years
– MFA tries to strengthen integrity mechanisms and create a Task Force with the participation of the Government, Police and the Lotteries and Gaming Authority

Statute & Regulations
– 51 new regulations
– discussion continues on Players Status Regulations with regards to parameters, salary capping and foreign players which will be presented early in 2014
– discussion continues on the Premier League format with a decision scheduled early next year
– discussion continues on the commercialisation of football clubs
– a review of the MFA Statute and Regulations

Technical Centre
– Robert Gatt appointed as Technical Director to implement an extensive reform
– a new training scheme for senior national team
– good relationship with clubs who have players with national teams
– the introduction of a calendar of national teams’ training
– the set-up of the Academy for boys and girls under the age of sixteen
– the Soldano project for players born 1997 and 1998
– the introduction of the Regions in a different format
– insurance for all national teams’ players
– commercial sponsors for national teams
– 33 courses by Coach Education Unit
– UEFA Grassroots Seminar held in Malta
– Get into Football campaign for girls
– more sports programme organised together with the KMS
– heavy investment in Clinic and Physiotherapy services
– guidelines for nurseries
– amendments to regulations with regards to licensing of nurseries and registration of young players
– educational programme involving the participation of national teams in schools

– new headquarters for Referees’ Department
– record number of officials on FIFA List
– set-up of Referees’ Academy
– more intensive training with a professional coach
– referees’ exchanges
– introduction of Additional Assistant Referees
– participation in UEFA and FIFA seminars
– educational programme for administrators
– a training camp abroad organised in collaboration with the MFRA
– an increase in allowance for match officials
– a technical sponsor for referees
– an increase of 12% in the number of active match officials

Sports Facilities
– upgrades at National Stadium
– six regional stadiums upgraded
– 30 projects involving facilities of member clubs over the past three years
– centralised maintenance scheme introduced
– Sinking-Fund to be introduced
– direct investment of €15 million in facilities
– introduction of electronic-ticketing system
– heavy investment in the infrastructure of MFA Technical Centre
– new headquarters for Youth FA
– new offices for match operations
– investment in National Stadium West Stand
– investment in MFA Swimming Pool
– installation of photo-voltaic panels
– new project with regards to North Stand and South Stand

Incentives for Clubs and Member Associations
– MFA finances capital projects and interest on loans
– MFA finances venues for competitive matches
– MFA finances referees’ fees
– MFA gives up 40% share from gate-money
– quality balls for National Leagues’ matches
– financial assistance to cover expenses of Medical Tests for UEFA Licence
– commercial and television contracts from which member clubs and associations benefit
– subsidy in Clinic Cover Scheme
– Cash Collateral Scheme